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The Late Movies: Springsteen on the Ukulele

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Last week, I stumbled upon Uke Springsteen's MySpace. Uke, who by day is Pat Healy, is a one-man cover band, using his ukulele to strum out renditions of popular Bruce Springsteen songs. (His remix of "Atlantic City" rivals The Band for best cover of the iconic song.) Perhaps not surprisingly, Uke is not alone in his hobby. Here's nine clips of other Bruce-lovin' ukulele players.

"Thunder Road"

Sam Love Kemp describes herself as an "amateur ukulele enthusiast." Along with her college buddy, Erika Strandjord, Sam hits open mic nights around Iowa with her ukulele, a Red Cedar Concert ukulele from Mainland Ukes. Here, she covers "Thunder Road," one of her favorite Springsteen songs to listen to while driving. She based her ukulele arrangment of the 1975 hit off Bruce's performance on MTV UnPlugged.

"State Trooper"

Sam's pal Erika performs her dad's favorite song since he couldn't see her at a recent open mic.

"Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)"

This version of "Rosalita," one of Springsteen's most upbeat tunes, is surprisingly mellow thanks to Kevin's ukulele.

"Born To Run"

Performed by a true uke enthusiast (as evidenced by the 10—10!—ukuleles hanging on the wall behind him), this version of "Born To Run" comes with the added bonus of a kazoo blasting out the iconic first chords of Springsteen's most famous tune.

"The River"

Laura O' Callaghan, Eamon Cagney, Maria Falsey, Eoghan Judge, Thomas Doyle and Owen Sutton perform the title track from Springsteen's fifth album. O'Callaghan is responsible for the uke and the vocals on this one and contributes to a truly imaginative cover.

"Hungry Heart"

Ian Brown and Stevo Corrigan, otherwise known as Two Blokes, Two Ukes, dedicate this version of "Hungry Heart" to their pal Ellie Daniels. Brown and Corrigan are also open to requests. (Another post for another day: Their version of Lady Gaga's "Pokerface" is quite entertaining.)

"Dancing In The Dark"

Uni covers the first single released off  Born in the U.S.A.—a song most notable for a very young Courteney Cox's appearance in the music video—in Bar Mendocino, Helsinki, Finland.

"Out In The Street"

After all these videos, have you been aching to learn how to play some Springsteen on your own uke? You're in luck! Mark made an instructional video for "Out in the Street." He also gives a quick but interesting crash course about the difference between a ukulele and a guitar, which is good trivia for any faithful Flosser.

"Growin' Up"

Mark also covers "Growin' Up," which some YouTube commenters erroneously believe is a song by the Beach Boys. In fact, "Growin' Up" was released in 1973 on Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. and was featured in the 1999 Adam Sandler flick Big Daddy.

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Animals
Fisherman Catches Rare Blue Lobster, Donates It to Science
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FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images

Live lobsters caught off the New England coast are typically brown, olive-green, or gray—which is why one New Hampshire fisherman was stunned when he snagged a blue one in mid-July.

As The Independent reports, Greg Ward, from Rye, New Hampshire, discovered the unusual lobster while examining his catch near the New Hampshire-Maine border. Ward initially thought the pale crustacean was an albino lobster, which some experts estimate to be a one-in-100-million discovery. However, a closer inspection revealed that the lobster's hard shell was blue and cream.

"This one was not all the way white and not all the way blue," Ward told The Portsmouth Herald. "I've never seen anything like it."

While not as rare as an albino lobster, blue lobsters are still a famously elusive catch: It's said that the odds of their occurrence are an estimated one in two million, although nobody knows the exact numbers.

Instead of eating the blue lobster, Ward decided to donate it to the Seacoast Science Center in Rye. There, it will be studied and displayed in a lobster tank with other unusually colored critters, including a second blue lobster, a bright orange lobster, and a calico-spotted lobster.

[h/t The Telegraph]

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Courtesy Murdoch University
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Animals
Australian Scientists Discover First New Species of Sunfish in 125 Years
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Courtesy Murdoch University

Scientists have pinpointed a whole new species of the largest bony fish in the world, the massive sunfish, as we learned from Smithsonian magazine. It's the first new species of sunfish proposed in more than 125 years.

As the researchers report in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, the genetic differences between the newly named hoodwinker sunfish (Mola tecta) and its other sunfish brethren was confirmed by data on 27 different samples of the species collected over the course of three years. Since sunfish are so massive—the biggest can weigh as much as 5000 pounds—they pose a challenge to preserve and store, even for museums with large research collections. Lead author Marianne Nyegaard of Murdoch University in Australia traveled thousands of miles to find and collected genetic data on sunfish stranded on beaches. At one point, she was asked if she would be bringing her own crane to collect one.

Nyegaard also went back through scientific literature dating back to the 1500s, sorting through descriptions of sea monsters and mermen to see if any of the documentation sounded like observations of the hoodwinker. "We retraced the steps of early naturalists and taxonomists to understand how such a large fish could have evaded discovery all this time," she said in a press statement. "Overall, we felt science had been repeatedly tricked by this cheeky species, which is why we named it the 'hoodwinker.'"

Japanese researchers first detected genetic differences between previously known sunfish and a new, unknown species 10 years ago, and this confirms the existence of a whole different type from species like the Mola mola or Mola ramsayi.

Mola tecta looks a little different from other sunfish, with a more slender body. As it grows, it doesn't develop the protruding snout or bumps that other sunfish exhibit. Similarly to the others, though, it can reach a length of 8 feet or more. 

Based on the stomach contents of some of the specimens studied, the hoodwinker likely feeds on salps, a jellyfish-like creature that it probably chomps on (yes, sunfish have teeth) during deep dives. The species has been found near New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and southern Chile.

[h/t Smithsonian]

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